29 November 2014, Saturday
What did I get myself on Black Friday?
This sale price for a real SanDisk card is cheaper or the same as any of no-name brands.
While SanDisk tries to scare us that somehow this "50 MB/s" card is slower than their other "faster" cards that sell for triple the price, let's face it:
1.) I looked at the cards I've been shooting, and this card is faster than what I've been shooting. I don't buy new cards every time I get a new camera.
2.) When shooting, DSLRs have buffers so it doesn't matter how slow or fast is the card. Shoot as fast and heavy as you want, and your DSLR writes from its buffer at whatever speed the card will take.
The only advantage to a faster card is faster downloading speeds.
In this case, these are big cards I use as Backup to the primary card in each camera. I let this big card just sit there and soak up everything I shoot just in case. I set MENU > SETUP > use second cad slo for backup/record to both cards. It doesn't have to be fast, and 50 MB/s is still really fast.
28 November 2014, Black Friday
You may know what you want, but maybe Santa doesn't.
This list has the ten best ideas for 2014 with products that really stand out above the rest.
The best deals are always online. No way will I be out like some idiot waiting in line at retail. My shopping is already done and I'm going to be enjoying this weekend with my family exploring, shooting and riding bikes and doing what I want to do — not stuck in a parking lot looking for parking. My time is actually worth something, and I'm going to spend my holiday doing things I enjoy.
No one ever got their doors dinged shopping online.
No one ever caught the flu shopping online.
Zillions of people had their personal information stolen after shopping at Target and Home Depot and many others, and that's what you get when shopping retail. Criminals rig registers to skim data, and Heaven help you if you buy at the flea market or farmers market from anyone with a portable wireless card reader or something attached to their iPhone.
Here's more on how you get your card data stolen at Home Depot, and here's more about what went on at Target. Checkouts, cash registers (a.k.a. "point-of-sale" systems) and store employees are very easy to target by clever thieves, and they do. Large online company databases are protected like Fort Knox because data is an online company's most valuable asset. When you shop online, your data is far safer. As a noted writer once asked, "Where is you car more likely to get stolen: driving down the freeway, or when it's left parked outside overnight?" Exactly; no one's stealing your data as you shop online. If people are trying to steal data, they're trying to break into poorly protected remote databases, not spending more effort to crack just one active online transaction.
Online sellers store their data quite securely because they need to, while retailers don't bother themselves with your personal data security because it's not critical to them running their retail operation.
I haven't shopped retail since I was a kid in the 1970s. I've shopped mail-order, or online, ever since. Especially today when we have few if any real cameras stores left, and since Nikon and Canon and the rest don't seal their boxes, buying at retail is just too foolish and too dangerous. It's too easy for a retailer to slip you a used or demo or returned product, and there's no way to know.
When was the last time you sent in a warranty card or registered online? I never do, but since we can register online, if you buy at retail you might be slipped a product that was bought last week, registered online, returned and then sold to you. You won't know you got a used product for which you have no warranty (because it was already registered to someone else) until you have a problem months down the road.
When I buy online, it comes from automated warehouses, not from a small backroom to which every employee has access and can go fiddle with what we buy, or bring it up front for people to fondle. As I've always said, where do you think counter demonstrator cameras go? They don't get thrown away; they usually get sold to the next customer for full price as if it was new. If you don't see a used department at a retail store, then you know the demo models are getting sold to suckers as if they were new. They don't just throw them away or return them.
Of course if you have a great family-owned local single-location store where the owner is there everyday (like OC Camera in Mission Viejo, California) don't let me discourage you, but never waste your time at a big-name chain store.
Adorama and B&H Photo are family-owned local NYC single-location stores, and their owners are also there every day. That's why I've been ordering from Adorama and B&H Photo since the 1970s — and they all have active used departments. They've grown as big as they have because they care about us first, not because they're some large chain worried more about its own profits.
I share the stores I use personally at Approved Stores. Use them and you'll get the best prices, service and selection; that's why I have used them for years and decades. Any place not listed is NOT recommended, either because I haven't used them, or because I did and had bad results.
27 November 2014, Thanksgiving Day
I'm a very appreciative person. I give thanks every day for my family, my family's health, and what a great country in which we live with unlimited prosperity and opportunity. I'm also always thankful that there are people who volunteer to be away from their families not just today, but all throughout the year to protect our communities and our country by serving in our police and fire departments, hospital emergency rooms and all branches of the US Military, just so the rest of us can have a great time while they often are far away in nasty places.
And of course thank you all for reading me! Without you, all this work would be wasted time. I am deeply thankful that through the wonders of the Internet I'm able to share whatever talents I may have with the rest of the world.
26 November 2014, Wednesday
NEW: Sony A7II.
24MP stabilized full-frame mirrorless.
My X100T is going to be here next week, and I'll let you know what I think. Right now, I think it's going to be awesome!
24 November 2014, Monday
Many thanks to my friend Dr. Tony Santo for sharing this.
Personally I mail my E-6, C-41 and B&W to North Coast Photo, and for our do-it-yourselfers, Dr. Santo has finally done all the research and shared it with us.
You can get all the Jobo gear you need at eBay.
Film versus Digital, which just like the age-old rock versus disco dilemma, really depends on your own personal taste. You have to ask yourself what you want to do with your photos. If you want digital images for facebook, web and email, by all means shoot it on digital.
If you want B&W fibre-based prints, shoot film.
If you want a film-look effect, shoot film. Nothing looks like film except film.
For most people, digital is easier and cleaner — but if you're an artist, shoot whatever gives you your look. There is no absolute best; today, it all depends on your taste — just like rock versus disco.
Here's the coolest thing I do with my film shots: project them! Ever since the 1970s I've been projecting my slides big, and most people have no idea how awesome it is to see your original film projected 10 feet wide or more with full resolution.
If you want resolution, don't forget that most projectors and computer and mobile screens have only a megapixel or two, and all the other pixels are simply thrown away. Even my 30" Apple Cinema Display has only 4 megapixels. There is no way to display all the pixels from modern DSLR other than to make prints many feet wide; even the world's highest-resolution computer sold to the public, the Apple iMac with 5K Retina Display, has less than 15 megapixels in its awesome display.
22 November 2014, Saturday
Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S.
A fantastically good lens, but much bigger and heavier than zooms.
21 November 2014, Friday
20 November 2014, Thursday
I so love my X100S
Here's a typical example of how it just does everything for me to make my snap look great:
The key here is that I get these shots every time, fully automatically. I didn't have to twiddle with my white balance or exposure or lighting ratios or special light modifiers or flash fill level or ISO or anything. I leave it all on AUTO and it just gets my shot right the first time, every time. The built-in flash is the smartest flash I've ever used, far better than any DSLR when it comes to always adding the perfect amount of fill in any conditions, n0t just daylight.
I also love Perfectly Clear. It took an already great-looking shot, and lightened Ryan's face and brightened his eyes all automatically. One click, not two, in Perfectly Clear and I was done and on to the next project.
The latest version of Perfectly Clear adds two preset Portrait options. The first, used above, is for all people and just makes everything look better. The second portrait options pushes it, and starts smoothing out skin and making fat people look skinner etc. The key is that each just works; you never have to tell it what face is where or anything; one click and you're done.
19 November 2014, Wednesday
Apple iPhone 6 Plus.
As you saw in my Yosemite gallery, a great camera as well as everything else.
A postage-stamp sized audio DAC and headphone amp.
15 November 2014, Saturday
Since I'm off this weekend, here are some headphone reviews for your enjoyment.
I have a slew of 180mmm, 300mm and 400mm lenses on deck for review hopefully next week.
NEW: Beyerdynamic T51i Review.
Brand new, and now the world's best portable headphones.
NEW: AKG K812 Review.
13 November 2014, Thursday
Of course I didn't bring my 16-35/2.8, as it's a news, sports and action lens.
In fact, I brought my Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS, which is a nature and landscape lens.
The difference is that the f/2.8 II lens is faster, but much less sharp in the corners at wider apertures than the f/4 IS. The f/4 IS, Canon's sharpest ultrawide ever, is for nature and landscapes, while the f/2.8 II is a fast, tough newsman's lens.
We need to own both if we shoot both kinds of assignments, but of course only carry one at a time.
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L.
UPDATED: Canon 300mm f/2.8 L Review.
After shooting it in Yosemite, I've added a lot to my review of the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L.
11 November 2014, Veteran's Day
Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II.
Canon updates its superb 100-400mm IS from a push-pull to a rotary zoom, adds much closer focussing and greatly improves its Image Stabilization.
08 November 2014, Saturday
Some of what I did last month.
05 November 2014, Wednesday
The iPhone 6 Plus not only makes great slo-mo video, it's trivial to edit it as seen above so the playback changes speed wherever we want it. In this case, it shifts from regular to slow and back again.
04 November 2014, Tuesday
Tokina 70-200mm f/4 VR FX.
02 November 2014, Sunday
Reset your camera clocks!
While most of our Macs and iPhones etc. all reset themselves to standard time, our cameras rarely do.
Be sure to reset all of your digital cameras, since if you don't, it may be months from today until you realize it and you'll have the wrong time stamps on months worth of images.
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